The best of Kenyan female artistes this pandemic period

Friday, October 30th, 2020 00:00 |

The year 2020 has been tough on many people, especially in the creative industry. Nevertheless, there has been those among us who have weathered through the storm despite the challenges. Jasmine Atieno looks at some of the most outstanding Kenyan female artistes who have kept the vibe going against all odds


The year might have been tough on many people, but it has been the breakthrough period for Mombasa-based singer Adasa. She has so far released five songs this year including Tunaendana, Mahaba Niue, Nipekeche and Najikakamua ft Benzema.

She says: “I thank God for the love that people have received my songs with. The collabo with Benzema has given me the strongest fan base ever. And yes, more collaborations are in the making with big artistes.” 

Sai Kenya

With only two songs (Unaboa and Pambana) and three covers, Grace Msafari aka Sai Kenya has been able to get over 14,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel.

This is really impressive for an artiste who came into the scene this same year that sent everyone indoor to avoid contracting the deadly coronavirus.

“It is not easy for someone to get such numbers on YouTube with only two songs. I can say I have been accepted well, especially in Dar es Salaam.

I have a collaboration coming soon with Masauti, among many others that I don’t want to mention right now.

But I am currently concentrating on releasing my EP,” shares Sai, who is a granddaughter of legendary Kenyan musician, the late Abel Kifoto, a pioneer member of the Maroon Commandos ensemble.

Fena Gitu

Fena is definitely one of the best Kenyan female artistes today. In terms of creativity, it’s always a promise you will be impressed.

And this Covid-19 pandemic held no excuses on her as she blessed us with hits such as Tesa ft Nadia Mukami and Khaligraph Jones, High Table (with iLogos), Karibia and the latest Siri.

The new song basically brings out a secret lesbian affair, raising even more eyebrows on her sexual orientation that has been a grapevine talk for some years now.

Well, whatever the case, her fan base has enjoyed good music during the pandemic and sure there is only more to look forward to.

Femi One

When the song Utawezana by Femi One ft Mejja hit the airwave on April 1, it was followed by some heavy tongue lashing, with some quarters calling it out for its heavy sexual connotations.

But with or without the hate, it became many a people’s favourite and Femi One’s biggest hit thus far.

And just before people were getting over with it, she released Kipetero Kiyesu ft Sol Generation’s Nviiri the Storyteller, and people danced even more through the stormy pandemic.

Her rap style stands out amongst her peers and this is a big plus for the high-flying Kaka Empire signee.

Tanasha Donna

This year, we have to admit that Tanasha Donna has proved her strength as one of the best and most promising Kenyan female artistes.

First, she released the song Gere in February with her ex-lover and Bongo’s finest Diamond Platnumz.

The song was a super hit, but was closely followed by their heated and dramatic break-up, which would have sent her into shadows, but instead, more music projects came through.

Her solo and collabo projects won her a big following and earned her the respect as a talented artiste.

Her solo Sawa proved that she was capable of holding her own crown without relying on her baby daddy’s fame.

In 2020, Tanasha has released other jams including La vie, Na Wewe, Liar, Radio and Jojo ft Majix Enga.

Cathy Matete

Lovers rock, roots and reggae dancehall artiste Cathy Matete started this year on a high note by featuring Jamaican superstar Anthony B on her song Wine Fi You, which was her first release of 2020.

Cathy Matete.

This was a beautiful unexpected surprise for her fan base. In April, she released Desire, a smash hit that swept the world like a wildfire despite the heavy Swahili influence.

Cathy recorded Shine Your Light produced by UK-based Sajay and released it on the same day across radio stations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Australia and England.

“During this time, a lot of police brutality and corruption had been taking place around the world. Cathy Matete speaks about the challenges that we face as a race in her song Revolution Time, which was released in September.

This month, she has released Lovers Paradise, which debuted in one of Jamaica’s biggest radio stations,” shares her manager Majestic Trends.

Binti Afrika

The Kenyan reggae music is growing steadily and the number of female artistes is growing with it.

Singer Binti Afrika aka Lioness Order Queen has been a blessing to many reggae fans through the pandemic.

Binti Afrika.

Her jams including Fyah Self, Turn Around, Conky Fyah,  Lion in Africa,  Gwaan With It and Journey have lit up the reggae scene this period.

“I have more music coming out this year; a masterful production from ZJ Heno’s Real Empire Sounds called Jah Children, more from Half Live and Ever Blazzing Productions and I got the opportunity to record a collaboration with Mariah Ngoma, which will be out at the end of this month.

I also got back with Razoof who produced Italfood to create another big Swahili Dub tune that will be out soon as well. I have also worked

 on an EP (a mini album) with Big Sugar Records (Canada/USA), which will be coming out next year.

This year finances went to the dogs, and it has been a big burn and stressful, but the creative and spiritual growth that I have found within the lockdown has been priceless.

I’d say through the hardships and trials of the year, the universe has handled me graciously and I can only give my very best in return,” she intimates.

Sylvia Ssaru 

Ssaru is a young rapper and one of the most promising in Kenya, and she is taking her place steadily and surely.

Despite the fact that things have not been easy this season, she adapted just fine and managed to bless her fans with good music.

“Through God’s grace, I was able to get featured in big tracks such as Kalale and Wanani and there is more to come.

My fans have been showing love all through and that gives me a really wonderful feeling.

Over the period, I have also released a few solo projects including Swagger, Nimerudi Tena and Cheki, and they all did so well.

Bigger projects are on the way, so my fans should definitely ready themselves and keep showing me love and support,” she shares with Spice.

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